If the bounce in Armand Linkens' step is any indication, happiness and maybe even riches are achievable in the smart card business.

Mr. Linkens, managing director of Proton World International, has been jauntily defying an old joke about how nobody ever made money on the advanced plastic cards. This is an only slightly exaggerated idea rooted in North America's reluctance to adopt cards with computer chips on them because there appears to be no cost-justification.

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